The Church on Relations with Heretics
Matthew Raphael Johnson
The Orthodox do not expect the other Christians to be converted to Orthodoxy in its historic and cultural reality of the past and the present and to become members of the Orthodox Church—Statement of the Orthodox delegates at the WCC General Assembly in Nairobi in 1975
We order any Bishop, or Presbyter, that has accepted any heretics’ Baptism, or sacrifice, to be deposed; for “what consonance hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath the believer with an infidel?” (Canon 56 of the Apostles)
Many have begun to upbraid me for my position on the grace of the sacraments for those who believe the heterodox have mysteries. The simple fact of the matter is that there cannot be two Orthodoxies. One is true, the others, false. Today, there are two “orthodoxies,” the first, based at the Phanar, and is an integral part of the global ecumenical movement and globalist elite forces. The other is the “suffering Orthodox,” those in resistance, who refuse to recognize or compromise with the secularization of the world, which, to a great extent, now almost completely dominates the mind of “world Orthodoxy.”
Overwhelmingly, the True Orthodox in Greece and elsewhere have rejected the idea that grace can exist in a church body that holds that heretics, that is, Roman Catholics and Anglicans, do have sacraments and can achieve salvation. They have rejected the idea that two orthodoxies can exist side by side. It was the Greek new calendar church that first claimed that the True Orthodox do not have mysteries, yet the papists do. It was the new calendarists who launched bloody and violent reprisals against the True Orthodox in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, destroying churches, profaning the mysteries and assaulting priests and faithful.
These are spiritual thieves, plundering the spiritual flock, and they will enter the sheepfold (the Church), climbing up some other way, using force and trampling upon the divine statutes. The Lord calls them robbers (cf. St. John 10:1). Indeed, their first task will be the persecution of the true pastors, their imprisonment and exile, for without this it will be impossible for them to plunder the sheep.
Therefore, my son, when you see the violation of patristic tradition and the divine order in the Church, the order established by God, know that the heretics have already appeared, although for the time being they may conceal their impiety, or they will distort the Divine Faith imperceptibly, in order to succeed better in seducing and enticing the inexperienced into the net. (St. Anatolii the Younger of Optina, 1922).
Ecumenism is a heresy because it claims that grace exists outside of Orthodoxy, and, as a result, truth has no relation to salvation, grace or sacraments. Those who are a part of the ecumenical movement hold this to a man, and hence, there can be no question from a strict canonical point of view that they are no longer Orthodox. The patristic/canonical authority for all this, though familiar to most, is reprinted below. Those who are new to this controversy must read this material. The True Orthodox number about 2000 parishes throughout the world, and have pronounced synodically that the synods of Moscow and the Greek world are schismatic. There is no official statement on the Romanians, Serbs, Georgians or Bulgarians. These have been considered “irregular,” such as the Matthewites or certain Ukrainian groups, rather than graceless.
In other words, the True Orthodox have not synodically rejected the grace of the Serbs, etc. Since Serbia and Georgia have left the World Council of Churches (WCC) there is some reason to hold them as a part of Orthodoxy, however irregular due to their communion with the Phanar. Nevertheless, the independent Serbian metropolitanate of Christopher, a 33rd degree Mason has refused to follow Belgrade in this matter, one can easily conclude that the Serbs in America fall into the same heresy as the Greeks. Since Serbs in America receive communion maybe once a year, it is a rather moot point whether they are a apart of Orthodoxy.
It should be reiterated that these synodal decisions of the True Orthodox, Russian and Greek, refer only to sacramental grace. The pious Orthodox, maybe confused as to their status, receive all the grace that they would merely as praying, without the sacramental life. Hence, salvation is possible if there is no moral culpability, as is clearly the case throughout the world. Holding Orthodoxy in one’s being is all that is necessary for salvation, regardless of the irregularity of such a position. In these confusing times, times the True Orthodox are not helping by their factiousness, the faithful Orthodox will see God, regardless of their position.
The fact remains that the New Calendar was anathematized by all Orthodoxy, all the historic patriarchates, prior to 1921. Between 1902 and 1904, the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople have anathematized the New Calendar and the papal mentality that undergirds it. No Orthodox body, outside of the most severe emergency, has the authority to rewrite tradition to suit their needs. Certainly this applies to something so intimately familiar to all Orthodox as the calendar. It created a schism in Orthodoxy, introduced Orthodoxy to the structured, elite-funded ecumenical movement, and crated an “Orthodox papacy” in the Phanar.
The Masonic Young Turk movement made certain that all Patriarchs of Constantinople were Masons, and that includes the well known Mason Meletios IV (both patriarch of Constantinople and Alexandria, even after his formal deposition, who had reached the 33rd degree), as well as lesser known Masons such as Basil III and Photios II. The Lodge at Constantinople, under Patriarch Meletios IV recognizes the sacraments of the Anglicans. In 1948, another Freemason is “elected,” Athenagoras a 33rd degree Mason. Athenagoras said, “We are in error and sin if we think that the Orthodox Faith came down from heaven and that the other dogmas [i.e. religions] are unworthy. Three hundred million men have chosen Mohammedanism as the way to God, and further hundreds of millions are Protestants, Catholics and Buddhists. The aim of every religion is to make man better.”
Iakovos, head of the Greek sect in America, and a Mason, of sorry memory, referred to the canons as “pseudo-documents” and “prejudices” that prevent union with the western “Christians.” He is venerated still by the Greek church, though has yet to be “canonized.” He believed that the Talmudic Jews were our “fathers in the faith," and regularly received cash advances from the ADL. The Patriarchs of Constantinople regularly pray and concelebrate with the popes. In 1965, the papal name is inserted into the diptyches of Constantinople, denoting full communion. The ROCOR under St. +PHILARET the New Confessor, rejects all communion with the ecumenists as a result, and joins with the Greek Old Calendarists, long confessing the gracelessness of the ecumenist mysteries. After +PHILARET’s death, the ROCOR’s policy will change, something predicted by the great Archbishop +AVERKY of blessed memory.
Demetrios is then elected “Patriarch of Constantinople” in 1972, and in his case, is a public Mason, reaching the 33rd degree, having, as all Masons, taken their oath to Lucifer/Prometheus at the 13th degree, and repeated thereafter. He will proclaim that the Roman Catholics and Anglicans have sacraments, and that, therefore, they are part of the Orthodox church. All of “world Orthodoxy” accepts it. He writes the following:
. . . .the Holy Church of Christ in Constantinople embraces the Bishop of Rome and the Holy Church in Rome, in the incense, acceptable to the Lord, of the pentarchy of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, in which the Bishop of Rome is defined as presiding in love and honor, ascribing all honor to Your Holiness,... first in rank and honor in the universal Body of the Lord.
The facts are clear: all of the Patriarchs of Constantinople have been Masons and Luciferians since the 1920s. Parthenios of Alexandria himself was a Mason and praised Islam as a “true Religion” as president of the World Council of Churches. Yet “world Orthodoxy” maintained communion with him, and made communion with the Phanar their core argument for being “canonical.” In the meantime, the Antiocheans entered into communion with the Jacobites and encouraged Anglican parishes to become “Orthodox” without ever abjuring Anglicanism. So under the AOC in America, Anglican parishes, using organs, unleavened bread and openly venerating post-schism saints, are called “western rite Orthodox.”
The Phanar had long since been venerating post-schism western “saints,” and icons are painted of Paul VI of Rome and placed in the churches of the New Skete “monastery” in New York. By 2003, the ROCOR is concelebrating with the Masonic Phanar in Ireland and elsewhere. Specifically, on April 24, 2003, the ROCOR and the Phanar concelebrate in Dublin, Ireland. The ROCOR< despite all they have done for humanity, were (and are) taken in by the lures of worldly influence and mainstream “acceptance.” The result? Confusion, more schism and more harsh feelings and ill-will.
But the worst, the most openly evil, was the 1983 Vancouver Statement of the WCC, which explicitly “affirmed” an ecclesiology that rejected the necessity of Christ for Salvation. This was the first in a series of steps that allowed the Serbs, long on the WCC payroll, to eventually bite the hand that fed them and leave that organization.
The document in question is called, “My Neighbor's Faith and Mine, Theological Discoveries Through Interfaith Dialogue: A Study Guide” (Geneva: WCC, 1986). After claiming the need "a more adequate theology of religions," the group stated, “that in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, the entire human family has been united to God in an irrevocable bond and covenant. The saving presence of God's activity in all creation and human history comes to its focal point in the event of Christ. . . because we have seen and experienced goodness, truth, and holiness among followers of other paths and ways than that of Jesus Christ..., we find ourselves recognizing a need to move beyond a theology which confines salvation to the explicit personal commitment to Jesus Christ.” This was signed by all members of the WCC, including all Greek New Calendar jurisdictions that have yet to repent of it. World Orthodoxy continues to commune with the Phanar. As a result, there can be no question that Moscow, Bucharest, Athens, the Greeks and the Finns are heretics, worse than papists (for at least the latter do not claim to be “Orthodox”), and a humiliation for all True Orthodox peoples.
Allow me to be clear: The vulgar quoting from canons is not the aim here. The canons, almost completely unknown to the “average Orthodox” in the nave, are necessary to good church order, but they are not sufficient to it. We call the Orthodox Church the manifestation of the Spirit, that is, the Third Person of the Trinity, rather than the manifestation of Christ in the flesh. The Sprit, and this is at the root of the difference between the papal party (east and west) and the Orthodox one, is the representative of a Holy Freedom. We are freed from the law, but it is a far cry from saying we are freed from the necessity of true church order. Hence, the reality is that “canonicity” has become nearly meaningless, deriving as it does from the pens of hobbyists, neophytes and amateurs. But what the Spirit gives to us is a freedom within order and the fullness of the faith: canon law, the living witness of the saints, monastic typika, the divine services, pilgrimage, mystical experience, the giving of alms and the giving of self in a very real and often painful way. All of these together (and all of these that cannot be rendered in language) are at the basis of good Orthodox order and canonical life. And it is here, even more than the violation of a strict canonical order, that the difference between the two Orthodox churches arise. Nevertheless, the relevant canons, etc. are reprinted below.
Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all "branches" or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and Eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema! (ROCOR, 1983)
Concerning the fact that those belonging to the Church must not be allowed to go visiting the cemeteries or the so called martyria of any heretics, for the purpose of prayer or of cure, but, on the contrary, those who do so, if they be among the faithful, shall be excluded from communion for a time until they repent and confess their having made a mistake, when they may be readmitted to communion. (Canon IX of Laodicia (Also approved by the Ecumenical Synods))
If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated. Canon LXV Of the Holy Apostles)
Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed. (Canon XLV of the Holy Apostles)
One must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics. (Canon XXXIII of Laodicia)
Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons." (St. Ignatius Of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians, 3:2-4:1, 110 A.D.)
The present age is rich not in ascetical feats of piety and confession of faith, but in cheating, lies, and deceits. It is noteworthy that several hierarchs and their flocks, for the most part Russians, have already fallen away from Ecumenical unity, and to the question: "What dost thou believe?", reply with references to self-proclaimed heads of all sorts of schisms in Moscow, America, and Western Europe. It is clear that they have ceased to believe in the unity of the Church throughout the whole world and do not wish to admit it, attempting to bear calmly the refusal of the true Church to have relations with them, and imagining that one can supposedly save ones should even without communion with Her... Those who have cut themselves off from Her deprive themselves of the hope of salvation, as the Fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council teach concerning this, having recognized the renegades as being totally devoid of grace , according to the word of Christ: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
Unfortunately, some Orthodox laymen, even, alas, many priests (and hierarchs) have subjected themselves to this state of gracelessness, although still retaining the outward appearance of the church services and the apparent performance of the Mysteries. (The 1934 paschal encyclical of Vladyka Anthony (Khrapovitsky))
And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the law of the Passover: no stranger shall eat of it. And every slave or servant bought with money - him thou shalt circumcise, and then shall he eat of it. A sojourner or hireling shall not eat of it. In one house shall it be eaten.” (Exodus 12:43-46.)
We shall not escape sharing in that punishment which, in the world to come, awaits heretics, if we defile Orthodoxy and the holy Faith by adulterous communion with heretics. St. John the Merciful
All the teachers of the Church, all the Councils, and all the Divine Scriptures, exhort us to flee those who uphold other doctrines and to separate from communion with them. (Confession of Faith, XII, 304, Saint Mark of Ephesus)
With a great voice, Saint John Chrysostom declared that not only heretics, but also they who hold communion with them are enemies of God. (Saint Theodore the Studite , Letter to the Abbot Theophilus)
Concerning the Faith, the heretics were totally shipwrecked; but as for the others, even if in their thinking they did not founder, nonetheless, because of their communion with heresy, they too were destroyed with the others. (Saint Theodore the Studite, Letter to the Patriarch of Jerusalem [PG 99, 1164])
“The divine and sacred canons say: ‘He who has communion with an excommunicate, let him be excommunicated, as overthrowing the rule of the Church.’ And again: ‘He who receives a heretic is subject to the same indictment...’ The great apostle and evangelist John says: ‘If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching with him, do not greet him and do not receive him into your house; for he who greets him communicates with his evil deeds’ (II John 10-11). If we are forbidden merely to greet him on the way, and if inviting him into our house is prohibited, how can it be otherwise not in a house, but in the temple of God, in the sanctuary at the mystical and terrible Supper of the Son of God... Whoever belches out the commemoration of him who has been worthily cut off by the Holy Spirit for his arrogance towards God and the Divine things, becomes for that reason an enemy of God and the Divine things.” (From an Epistle of the Martyred Fathers of the Holy Mountain to Emperor Michael Palaeologus against the heretical Patriarch John Beccus of Constantinople)
“If anyone breaks any ecclesiastical tradition, written or unwritten, let him be anathema” (Eighth Proceeding of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod)
To those who hold in contempt the sacred and divine canons of our blessed fathers, which, by sustaining the holy Church of God and adorning the whole Christian Church, guide to divine reverence, ANATHEMA (Eighth Proceeding of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod)
Among us, neither Patriarchs nor Councils were ever able to introduce innovations, because the defender of Religion is the very Body of the Church---that is, the people themselves --- which desire to have their Religion eternally unchanged and identical to that of their Fathers. (Reply of the Orthodox Patriarchs of the East to Pius IX, issued in 1848)
As we walk the unerring and life-bringing path, let us pluck out the eye that scandalizes us-not the physical eye, but the noetic one. For example, if a bishop or presbyter-who are the eyes of the Church-conduct themselves in an evil manner and scandalize the people, they must be plucked out. For it is more profitable to gather without them in a house of prayer, than to be cast together with them into the gehenna of fire together with Annas and Caiaphas (St. Athanasius the Great, PG 26:1257c)
He that saith not ‘Anathema’ to those in heresy, let him be anathema (Seventh Ecumenical Council)
I adjure all the people in Cyprus who are true children of the Catholic Church to flee as fast as their feet can carry them from those priests who have fallen and submitted to the Latins; neither assemble in church with them, nor receive any blessing from their hands. For it is better for you to pray to God in your homes alone than to gather together in churches with the Latin-minded (Germanos II, Patriarch of Constantinople, PG 140:620a)
It is good to be at peace with all, but [only] when they are of one mind with us as regards piety; for peace with that which is just and proper is a most excellent and profitable possession; but when it is with that which is evil or enslaving, then it is most disgraceful, and of all things the most shameful and harmful. For there is an evil concord and a good discord; there is a good severance, and an evil concurrence. And if friendship become a cause of perdition for some, then hatred becomes a virtue for them. Better is division for dispassion’s sake than concord effected for the passions’ sake. (Joseph Bryennius, the teacher of Saint Mark Eugenicus)
That one must not accept the blessings of heretics, which are rather misfortunes than blessings. (Canon 32 of the Council of Laodicea)
That one must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics. (Canon 33 of the Council of Laodicea)
The dearest thing of all for the Christian is the Truth, for the sake of witnessing to which the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, as He Himself said to Pilate (Jn 18:37). And for the true Christian there can be only one desirable unity--unity in the Truth of Christ--the pure, undistorted, uncorrupted Truth, without any admixture of diabolic falsehood, not envenomed by any compromise with it. From this point of view, all these appeals for "peace" and "unity" are unacceptable, for they come from people who encroach on our principal treasure--the pure and undefiled truth of the teaching of Christ that has been preserved by us, and who wish to substitute for it a lie which is of the devil. The "unity" which is now envisaged by the enemies of the pure truth of Christ is not unity in Christ. It is that unity which the Antichrist, who wishes to subject all to himself and to found his kingdom on earth, is striving to create. ("On the Situation of the Orthodox Christian in the Contemporary World by Archbishop Averky of Syracuse)
Those that are not reborn by the divine grace in the only ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH, they do not consist of (comprise) any church, neither visible nor invisible." (St. Nektarios of Aegina)
As there is one God and one Lord, so also true dignity is expressed by oneness in the image of the One Principle. And so, the one Church, which heresies make an effort to cut into many, is likened by oneness unto the nature of the One. We call the ancient Catholic Church one according to her essence, according to our concept of her, according to her origin and preeminence. (Presbyter Clement of Alexandria)
For whomever the Church is not mother, God is not father. (Hierarch Cyprian of Carthage)
Undoubtedly, we are only saved as living and organic members of the theanthropic body of the Savior, namely of the Church, of a holy Church, apostolic Church, catholic Church because the Church is nothing but the whole theanthropic life of Christ, extended to all the centuries and to the whole eternity. (Fr Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ)
Be glad and rejoice that you were granted to be pious Orthodox Christians. Likewise again cry and mourn for the impious and unbelievers who walk in darkness, in the hands of the devil. (St Kosmas Aitolos)
Only the Religion of Christ unites and all of us must pray that they come to this. Thus union will occur, not by believing that all of us are the same thing and that all religions are the same. They are not the same...our Orthodoxy is not related to other religions. (Elder Porphyrios)
...But as for those who...severe themselves from communion with their president, that is, because he publicly preaches heresy and with bared head teaches it in the Church, such persons are not only not subject to canonical penalty..., but are worthy of due honor mong the Orthodox. For not bishops, but false bishops and false teachers have they condemned, and they have not fragmented the Church's unity with schism, but from schisms and divisions have they earnestly sought to deliver the Church. (Canon XV of the First-Second Council of Constantinople)
Hiding behind the 'high-minded' aim of 'removing inter-religious discord' and 'the reunion of believers in one fraternal family', the theorists of ecumenism forget to mention one thing. This is that in such a reunion, the greatest and most precious thing of all will be lost - that is the truth of the Law of God, buried underneath the burden of false human reasoning. Like all heresies, ecumenism lies when it offers the fraternal union of Truth with the lie, cunningly pretending that it does not understand the unnatural nature of such a union, hoping that people bewitched by high-minded slogans will not notice the dreadful forgery. (Metropolitan IOANN of St Petersburg (+ 1995))
Hence, what is the logical and canonical conclusion? The New Orthodox are aware of Freemasonry and its cult of Lucifer/Prometheus, they are aware of the canons against relations with the heretics, they are aware that the canons decree that the heterodox are graceless, they are aware that fleeing from their bishops is legitimate according to the canons themselves. Hence, they are willfully apostates, aware of their apostasy, but their main passions, pride and a desire for mainstream acceptance, has destroyed them. Certainly noting new in Orthodox history. Since the True Orthodox bishops have synodically proclaimed the New Greek Church schismatic, those who remain orthodox are forced to conclude, despite our feelings to the contrary, that the New Orthodox do not have grace, and that they are worse than the papists. Of course, this refers to the institutions of the New Calendar churches, not to individuals.
The Abomination of Desolation has entered into the very altar of the church, and the True Orthodox must flee from it, not make excuses, as I did for so many years. The struggle is to build our house chapels, engage in intense proselytization, and above all, fear nothing. In this day and age, the internet has made our position crystal clear for all to see. There is no excuse for the Orthodox in the local Greek church not wanting to tell Aunt Matilda that he is no longer going to the family church. The information is there for all; those who refuse to act on it, even though they know it is correct from a canonical point of view, are culpable, and have lost eternal life and the immortality of their soul. Orthodoxy is not an “establishment” religion, and when it does become part of an “establishment,” it loses its soul, it becomes complacent and, slowly, becomes obsessed with worldly power and prestige. St. John Chrysostom saw this fact, the Old Believers saw it, the catacomb Orthodox saw it, and we are seeing it again. The New Orthodox have learned nothing, they have forgotten everything.
The New Orthodox are basically decent, secular people who have a respect for the “rich tradition” of the church, but see it as little more than a part of the “rich fabric” of American diversity. The church is a social institution, a vaguely “conservative” presence, but nothing more. They have inserted themselves into America life, its media and its prejudices, and, as a result, exist solely as a superficial “Christian” body. Those coming from Holy Cross or St. Vladimir’s have little by way of spiritual formation, and are taught a highly distorted, trivial and perfunctory version of the ancient faith.
The Orthodox tradition, however, is very different. Our life is one of struggle and persecution. The New Orthodox bishops are not persecuted and do not suffer. Yet, the Apostle Paul says the opposite. The New Orthodox life is one of relative ease. The True orthodox mission is to flee, to build alternative communities and an alternative economy. The Old Believers have proven that this can be done, and that their settlements were more literate, more pious and more prosperous than that of the mainline Orthodox. For one to claim the Orthodox mantle, yet be completely satisfied with the modern global economy and political system, is an apostate on that account alone. We are revolutionaries and separatists. At no level, not from the prophets, nor apostles or our saints, have we been anything else. We are outcasts. We are hated and persecuted. Yet, Christ and his apostles said that this is our lot. How few wonder why this is apparently not the lot of world Orthodoxy, a group that does not suffer at all, and is accepted by the world that Christ ordered his people to flee. World Orthodoxy is not, but rather an integral part of the world, and, as a result, partakes of its sins, its power relations and its money. The True Orthodox have the mantle of the prophets, while the “ecumenical Christians” have that of the temple prophets, the well paid lackeys of the corrupted Israelite power structure. Nothing has changed in 3000 years. We have no reason to expect it ever will. For our part, we struggle and suffer.